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Starship Troopers Paperback – May 15, 1987
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Juan Rico signed up with the Federal Service on a lark, but despite the hardships and rigorous training, he finds himself determined to make it as a cap trooper. In boot camp he will learn how to become a soldier, but when he graduates and war comes (as it always does for soldiers), he will learn why he is a soldier. Many consider this Hugo Award winner to be Robert Heinlein's finest work, and with good reason. Forget the battle scenes and high-tech weapons (though this novel has them)--this is Heinlein at the top of his game talking people and politics.
“Nothing has come along that can match it.”—Science Fiction Weekly
“A book that continues to resonate and influence to this day, and one whose popularity and luster hasn’t been dimmed despite decades of imitations.”—SF Reviews
“Heinlein’s genius is at its height in this timeless classic that is as meaningful today as when it was written...a fast-paced novel that never gets preachy. This is a definite must-have, must-read book.”—SF Site
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If you are looking for space opera or pure adventure science fiction, you will not find it here. There is adventure and hostile aliens, but there is also commentary on human society and the place of the military in it. This is one of the great sci-fi novels written by a giant of the genre. Honest people can acknowledge that without agreeing with everyone of Heinlein's thoughts.
Johnnie Rico is our guide in the book, taking us from his last day in school to enlisting and ending up in the Mobile Infantry. This is world-building in a microcosmic way, examining the inner workings of the M.I. while Johnnie keeps up a running banter on the good and the bad. One might think that a story told primarily in the mind of its protagonist would be boring. Mr. Heinlein's deep detail along with Johnnie's viewpoints keeps the interest level high.
When dialogue is injected into the book, it is usually to teach something. The battle sequence near the end of the book is a great example, and the discussion and lecture on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness during Johnnie's Morals and Philosophy class are a highlight of the book. I find myself wishing that the author was still alive, making it possible to ask if he really believed those sentiments or if he had merely crafted an incredible (and very defensible) position just for the book.
While undoubtedly controversial when it was published in 1959, a world where one must serve in the military in order to gain citizenship would probably be greeted with not much more than a shrug today. Readers would be missing something special, however, if they reject this book for another read. Mr. Heinlein’s reasoning still holds up today, and the military descriptions are extremely entertaining and anything but dry. Five stars.
The audio version of this book is terrible. We’ve all heard the occasional oversampling that occurs, presumably when the readers have to go back in and record corrections. Typically, there’s a small change in the voice that’s a slight distraction and then you don’t notice it a few seconds later.
This book is absolutely full of them. To the point it’s a frequent distraction. The quality is sophomoric. Imagine listening to a sentence and having someone record 3 words in the middle of it in a poor quality monotone and just splice then in. That happens over and over in this book. So add this to your to-read list, but ignore the audible narration unless you can get it for a dollar or less.